It was only a few days ago that we got to see some brilliant new promo images for The Avengers released in celebration of the Chinese New Year. We’ve now got some more excellent images of the Marvel superheroes as four of them grace the cover of Empire, in a four-cover issue, giving you a choice of Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow, and Captain America to add to your collection.

Not only that, but there are some great scans from inside the issue, which is released this Thursday, coming via and Collider, as well as snippets from their interview with Kevin Feige, Marvel’s President of Production, and Tom Hiddleston, who will play Loki, on some of the things we can and can’t expect from writer-director Joss Whedon’s upcoming superhero blockbuster.

Hiddleston said of his impending villainous role,

“He knows who he is now, and what his powers are. In order for The Avengers to come together, Loki has to be more menacing, and all of his malevolence is founded in a completely delusional dream.”

And when Feige was asked about Loki’s army,

“Who said they were aliens?… It’s not Skrulls, I’ve been clear about that. Beyond that, we want to hide it. The identity of the alien race is not impactful. It exists in the comic books, but we’re not setting up the Kree-Skrull war or anything like that.”

And for some time now, rumours have been circling that Red Skull, played by Hugo Weaving in Captain America: The First Avenger, would be returning in Whedon’s film, but Feige seems to clearly put that rumour to bed:

“Was [Red] Skull vaporised at the end of [Captain America: The First Avengers], or thrust into another realm? That remains to be seen. It would be fun to see Skull in future, but he’s not in this one.”

Marvel have shown that they’re clearly invested in continuing this recent slate of superhero films, with Iron Man 3, Thor 2, and hopefully The Avengers 2, all currently on the line-up, so there’ll be plenty of room for Weaving to reprise his role in the near future.

Whedon is directing from a script he’s co-written with Zak Penn (X-Men: The Last Stand, The Incredible Hulk), and all of our favourite superhero cast from the Marvel Universe will be reprising their roles from recent years, including Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr., with Paul Bettany returning as JARVIS), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo, taking over from Edward Norton), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson), Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg), Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), and Loki (Tom Hiddleston).

The Avengers will be with us in 3D on 27th April here in the UK, which means we’ve only got three months left before we can see them assemble. Here’s to hoping the time flies by. For now, here are the brilliant new cover images and page scans to enjoy. As usual, click to enlarge. And in case you missed it, you can catch up on the immense first trailer that hit towards the end of last year, and all the rest of our coverage of the film right here.